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Rejection of Innovations: The Discontinuance of Low Carbon Digital Products and Services

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Vrain, Emilie, Charlie Wilson, and Barnaby Andrews. 2022. “Rejection of Innovations: The Discontinuance of Low Carbon Digital Products and Services.” SSRN Scholarly Paper (SSRN). Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.

Digital consumer innovations offer low-carbon alternatives to mainstream consumption practices. We address a lack of research on the factors influencing post-adoption decisions of (dis)continuance for this important class of innovations. We conducted a repeat survey with UK consumers (n=995) in 2019 and 2020 to investigate 16 digital products and services across mobility, food, homes, and energy domains. Our survey captured temporal changes in adoption, personal and contextual characteristics, communication, social influences, innovation experiences and perceived attributes. We compare responses of participants who discontinued an innovation with two control groups: 1) participants who continued adoption and 2) those who remained non-adopters. We also provide a unique contribution by assessing the impacts of Covid-19 on post-adoption processes, domain behaviour and information flow.Our results indicate that discontinuance is associated with: 1) services more than products; 2) perceived functional attributes not met by experienced attributes; 3) a lack of positive social influence; 4) a decline in an individual’s financial situation. Covid-19 was not found to be a significant factor influencing innovation discontinuance. Findings highlight generalisable insights regarding the issues needing to be addressed by industry and policy to increase innovation retention, reduce risks of market stagnation and help accelerate the low carbon transition.

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